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Singapore’s New Digital District Expected to Generate 2,000 Tech Jobs

Singapore has introduced an all-out effort to prepare for this new reality. Going digital is now a must for businesses of all sizes, and workers are being encouraged to learn new skills as the economy embraces more technology. According to one estimate, the burgeoning digital economy will contribute up to US$10 billion (approximately S$13.5 billion) to Singapore’s GDP by 2021. However, with new opportunities come new challenges. For example, when jobs and skills become obsolete faster than people expect.

With this, the drivers of Singapore’s next phase of growth are starting to fall into place, with the first batch of global companies confirming plans to establish a base in Punggol Digital District. The Republic is positioning the upcoming digital district as the location of choice for technology companies as it prepares for the digital economy to power its growth.

The Minister for Trade and Industry stated at an event at the Punggol Digital District site office, which was also streamed virtually, that the first four companies to set up shop in the new hub are expected to create about 2,000 new tech jobs, ranging from data analysts to fraud hunters and blockchain developers. The minister, who is one of the co-chairs of the multi-ministerial task force on Covid-19, stated that the pandemic has resulted in technological disruption of traditional business models and remote working trends. But, he added, it has also created new opportunities.

“The digital economy can potentially fuel the next lap of economic growth,” he said, citing a report that said the digital market in Southeast Asia is expected to triple by 2025 to reach US$300 billion (S$408 billion).

The Punggol Digital District has been identified as a critical hub for bringing together industry players, academics, and tech talent. Yesterday, the Minister of Trade and Industry announced that the first four companies that will start the buzz are a smart living solutions company, a robotics design company, a cyber-security services provider, and a blockchain solutions provider. “Each of these companies brings different expertise to the mix,” emphasise the Minister for Trade and Industry.

In 2018, the master plan for the 50-hectare Punggol Digital District was unveiled. The district will gradually open beginning in 2024. When fully developed, it is expected to generate approximately 28,000 digital economy jobs. The district will house the new campus of the Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT), which will serve over 10,000 students and 500 academic staff.

As per JTC Corporation, this means that businesses will have easy access to SIT talent, while students will benefit from an applied learning environment. The district will also function as a living lab for businesses, students, and the public to test digital and smart living solutions

The Punggol Digital District was designed to be a smart and sustainable mixed-use development. JTC’s master plan aligns with Singapore’s Smart Nation and digital economy plans. It is mentioned that those companies will be vital in helping nurture next-generation digital talent, while building skillsets for mid-career professionals, in turn creating good job opportunities for Singaporeans.

In correspond, according to the World Economic Forum and the Group of Twenty, the digital economy is a broad range of economic activities that use digitised information and knowledge as key factors of production, modern information networks as an important activity space, and information and communications technology to drive productivity growth.

To put it simply, the digital economy is organised, enabled and facilitated by technology ranging from computers, Internet to emerging ones like artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things. Its growth and far-reaching influence have brought about tremendous disruptions across all industries.

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